BBC Loses Yet ANOTHER Iconic Sporting Event As Grand National Moves To Channel 4

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Will the excellent Clair Balding jump on the saddle with the herd headed for Channel Four? | PA

The BBC have suffered yet another casualty on their list of sports coverage, after it emerged this year's Grand National would be the corporation's last they televise live.

Other iconic races from Royal Ascot and the Derby, as well as Aintree, will transfer to Channel Four on a four-year deal before the inevitable switch to the voracious Sky Sports.

In the last 15 years, the BBC have lost or relinquished the rights to live FA Cup football, Test Match cricket, Formula One, The Boat Race and The Masters Golf.

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The biggest jewel in their regularly raided crown remains annual events Wimbledon, along with The Open and rugby union's Six Nations.

Championed for their uninterrupted coverage (you do pay a license fee for the privilege) of sport, in the post-Olympics climate the BBC will nevertheless boast a minimal amount of live sport to pull in viewers.

Claire Balding commented on the BBC's loss this morning:

Clare Balding
I'm not rushing into any decisions about what I will do in the future. 2012 is a busy enough year to keep me on my toes & then we'll see.

For the BBC, their latest defeat will call into question the corporation's commitment to sport, which is dwindling steadfastly.

As a channel who have composed music synonymous to several separate and popular sports, their flagship programmes are now seemingly waving the white equivalent as they surrender to a terrestrial corporation.

They have shown the National since 1960, but Channel Four have forged a long-standing identity as flag-bearers of horse racing coverage, and this latest coup shows their dedication to it.

Unlike their nervy and novice athletics coverage (Ortis Deley was dropped as main presenter after its August coverage of the world athletics championships), they have expert racing personalities ready to embrace the swollen workload.

But what of the BBC, and their obsession with talent finding and cookery shows? Is their long, drawn-out defeat to all and sundry a genuine lack of commitment to sport, or do they possess an ace up their sleeve such as bidding for Premier League TV rights?

Maybe Auntie Beeb has just had enough.

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